Last night, director Duncan Jones and producer Stuart Fenegan presented a Q&A screening of last year’s Warcraft in London’s Leicester Square. Amongst talking about what he would have liked to have done with Warcraft 2, Jones opened up about the troubled production of the movie, comparing the studio politics to Game of Thrones.
“One of the things that was absolute gut-punched was [the narrative],” he said when asked about the battles he lost with the studio. “It’s such an expensive process to make a movie like this, and when you make a decision to exorcise a scene during script stage or anywhere down the line right up towards the end, it’s never coming back. Because it’s too expensive to backtrack though all the animation and effects. People ask me when the directors cut is coming out, and there will never be a director’s cut. Unfortunately. There is no way to create the footage in order to have a director’s cut.”
He added: “When you have finished footage and you’re cutting the film, you can put forward your argument of ‘this is the cut I think is correct’ and then the studio can come back and say, ‘no I don’t think you need this, get rid of this, get rid of that’ and then you can keep fighting and find something that works for you and works for them. With [Warcraft], at any part of the process, when they say ‘no’ and you have to save the babies you can, it’s gone. You can never bring it back. I try to have a story that works for a script stage, once you start taking these things out you get this effect of death of 1,000 cuts. You start to lose this piece here, and this piece there, and you lose a character, and you lose a thread, and all of a sudden you’re basically, ‘I’ve got to find a way to stitch this all together so it still works as a movie’. But it’s not the movie I intended to make. That’s just the way this works.”
Fenegan, a long-time collaborator with Jones, also added, “There were a lot of voices at the table, and it was difficult to pull everyone together and try and own that through one director. The reason we’ve made four films together is because I believe that’s how you should make films. Everyone should be pulling together to go through one person’s vision.”
Jones spoke about one of his big victories, which was the casting of Travis Fimmel and Ruth Negga as siblings. “That to me was perfectly natural,” he said of their racial differences. “My sister is not the same colour as me and we are brother and sister. That to me exists in the real world. And the fights I put up over that over the course of years was ridiculous. It just exhausts you fighting every day for three years. And that’s one of the most disappointing parts of Warcraft. I don’t know why I’m still [passionate], it’s just the time and emotion spent making that movie – that’s why I want to make another one. I want to win.”
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Warcraft saw Duncan Jones (Moon) directing a cast that included Robert Kazinsky (Pacific Rim) as Orgrim Doomhammer, Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger) as King Llane Wrynn, Travis Fimmel (Vikings) as Anduin Lothar, Ben Foster (Ain’t Them Body Saints) as Medivh, Ben Schnetzer (Pride) as Khadgar, Ruth Negga (World War Z), Clancy Brown (Starship Troopers) as Blackhand, Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as Durotan, Daniel Wu (The Man with the Iron Fists) as Gul’Dan and Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) as Garona.